Brian Ritchie is still revered by many as a founder member and bassist of the US alt rock band Violent Femmes. Since moving from Milwaukee to Hobart in 2008, however, Ritchie has also carved out a parallel career as curator of Tasmania’s annual Mona Foma (MoFo) festival. He’s also devoted himself to the study and playing of the shakuhachi, the Japanese bamboo flute. He obtained his Jun Shihan (shakuhachi teaching license) in 2003 and in flute-playing circles, he’s known as Tairaku (“big music” in Japanese).

With Mona Foma about to fire up venues in Hobart and Launceston with headliners including Queens of the Stone Age, Courtney Barnett, Paul Kelly and audiovisual artist Robin Fox we grabbed a minute of Ritchie’s time to check out the music that moves him.

The Kinks: God’s Children

“Ray Davies is generally considered the greatest rock songwriter, so it’s not surprising that one of his songs would be on my list,” Ritchie tells Limelight. “That said, this is one weird-ass song. A gorgeous flowing ballad with a glorious string...